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Sewing Definitions

 What is a “yoke”?   “A scant quarter”?  or a “serged edge”?

Maybe you can remember sitting in a group of  people and wondering what language they were talking.  It sure did not seam like English, but it did not sound much like any other language either.  There are many fields of endeavor, hobbies, and interest with their own special terms.

Over the years, the language of sewing has become a bit easier, but every once in a while somebody says something that just leaves me bewildered.   If you are new to sewing or quilting, you probably understand.  Sewing definitions are vital to the sewer or quilter.

My Sewing Dictionary for Sewing DefinitionsMy Sewing Dictionary Software for sewing definitions

There is a whole vocabulary that is used by people who enjoy sewing and quilting.  Sometimes it takes years to learn all the ins and outs of this language.  While the words themselves sometimes sound familiar, they often have very specific meanings only understood by avid sewers.  It is important to have the right sewing definitions to understand what is going on.

When you hear the word “Yoke”, you might think the person is from Texas as I am, and is not properly pronouncing the word “joke”.  You might even think you are suppose to laugh when you hear the word, but it is no joking matter.  To an avid seamstress the word yoke is as commonplace as a shirt or dress.  Indeed, yoke means the part of a garment running horizontally across it.  It includes panels such as garment pieces covering shoulder, waist, midriff, or back.

If you heard a couple of  older ladies talking about how important it is to use a “scant quarter”, you might imagine they  were quite fugal, penny pinching, maybe even skinflints.   If you overheard one of them say something like, “without a scant quarter foot, you just can’t make good seam allowances”, you might feel a bit dizzy.  To the avid quilter, however, it all makes perfect sense.  A “scant quarter” has nothing to do with money, how absurd.  Any quilter knows that you can use a special sewing machine presser foot called a scant quarter to give you a perfect quarter inch seam allowance when piecing quilt blocks together.  Oops, I apologize, if this still seams strange to you, maybe you need to follow my mother’s old adage:   “If you really want to know look it up in the dictionary.”  

Years ago, when I first heard a salesman use the word “serged edge”, it made no sense to me.  Later, I asked an experienced seamstress what the salesman was talking about.  She explained that this was simply a way to overcast the edge of a fabric so that it would not ravel under use.  Since then, I have learned quite a bit more about different kinds of serged edges and how to make them on a serger as well as a sewing machine, but the learning process can be a challenge. 

Sewing 101

This is where My Sewing Dictionary comes in.  Over the years, I started collecting words that were special to sewing and quilting.  It is amazing how many different sewing terms and quilting terms there really are.  As I collected these terms, I would ask people to define them for me.  I would look them up in regular dictionaries, and try to put them into my own simplified words.  Eventually, I collected over 3,000 words that form what I call the sewing language.  There are likely a bunch more too.  Sewing terminology includes many words that are used exclusively in sewing or quilting, and many words that have special meanings in sewing. 

There are many fields of endeavor, hobbies, and interests with their own special words,  find out what these words mean from experts in the field.  It will give you confidence and satisfaction.  .If you want to master the language of sewing and quilting, you might start your own word collection.  Ask your sewing teacher for help or look up the words in a specialized dictionary instead of trying to figure them out from the maze in an ordinary dictionary.  There are many sewing glossaries available on the internet, and there are a few specialized dictionaries available to help you master the language of sewing.  Check out the all new My Sewing Dictionary and the My Sewing Dictionary Software for all of our sewing definitions.


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